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Sunderland Pre-Season Training Camp

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Roker Roundtable: How confident are you that Sunderland will secure their transfer targets?

With two months until the window closes, it feels like a good bet that deals are being worked on behind the scenes. We asked our panel for their views on how things are progressing.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav says…

To be blunt. I’m not worried whatsoever.

There would need to be a basis for being worried, and as far as I can tell, there is none.

Since Kyril Louis-Dreyfus bought the club, the way that we will recruit and build has been made perfectly clear, and that means we have to be smart.

The easy way out would be to sign the obvious choices - run of the mill free agents, like many other clubs have. But as we demonstrated during the two transfer windows last season, that’s just not the route that we will take.

I’m actually relieved that we haven’t seen a raft of free agent signings, because that to me shows we have our sights set a little higher.

If the quality of the player we want simply isn’t out there in the free agent market, then we’d be right to carry on down the path we’ve set for ourselves. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still unattached players out there that we might go for, however, because I’m sure there are. It is usually just that the best players have plenty of offers on the table, and that means we might have to stick to our guns.

There are just under two months until the transfer window closes - there’s really no need to worry at all.

Hull v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Martin Wanless says…

I’m pretty relaxed about our transfer business.

I think the recruitment team, led by Stuart Harvey, have done incredibly well during the past two transfer windows and have earned some confidence as a result.

It doesn’t take a footballing genius to identify exactly where the team needs strengthening, and we will be working tirelessly to bring the right players in.

Of course, we’ve also got the ‘recruitment unknown’ in the shape of Alex Neil during this pre-season. We don’t know what type of player will really suit Neil’s taste, and exactly how his influence meshes with the club’s overall recruitment strategy will be interesting to see.

We saw last summer that the club was prepared to wait until the right players became available, rather than rush in and sign people just so we had a full complement come the first game of the season, and there’s no reason to believe this will not be the case this time around.

Getting our transfer business done early is ideal, but is pretty unrealistic in modern football, so we will have to bide our time. People become available due to the business that other clubs do, and that will be the same again.

Given how it eventually worked out last season, you’d think there’s a level of trust there that didn’t exist last time round - you just have to cast your mind back to Ipswich’s deluge of transfer activity early last summer and the reaction of many who thought we should have been signing many of the lads they brought to Portman Road.

There’s a couple of positions in which we absolutely need new additions- goalkeeper and striker - but we’ve got a good team, and that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Players like Danny Batth and Patrick Roberts only played for a fraction of the season and they’re Championship players (at least, in Roberts’ case), while Jay Matete and Niall Huggins are players who we didn’t see much of last term, and could be like the proverbial ‘new signings’.

I doubt that we will see more than five new signings - four more after the acquisition of Daniel Ballard - and that’s a good thing. We’ve had far too many summers of wholesale changes, and we need stability.

After all, that is the aim of our recruitment strategy is, isn’t it? To bring players in that can improve and grow with the club, and are signed for the medium to long-term, rather than just the season ahead.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Camp Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Damian Brown says…

I’m quite divided on this subject.

In one sense, I understand the logic of waiting for the cream to rise to the surface, and biding our time for deals to get better and more viable.

As is rightly pointed out here, there are two months left in the window. That’s a lot of time for deals to be done, and even in that sense, I can see the logic of Alex Neil using a pre-season campaign to fully understand his squad and the levels of competition awaiting them during the coming season.

What I will say, however, is that you can’t underestimate the time it might take for a new player to find out where he truly belongs in the squad.

Our best signings of recent years have taken a lot of match minutes in order to find their stride and to directly contribute to getting us promoted. I think the longer they have to discover themselves under Neil, the better.

Equally, to slightly counter my earlier point, Neil should pretty much know exactly what he wants and needs in this division, and there should always have been solid targets planned for following a successful promotion run. In that sense, I want our transfer business done as quickly as possible, both for the sake of the team and the players themselves.

I think if we got to this point without having a full structural understanding it might point to other problems that could damage us in the recruitment process.

I’m willing to accept and believe that the recruitment team are up to the task, and I’m also willing to believe that the shareholders appreciate the gravity of the situation, and that all parties are the right choice for the club’s progress, so I’m not worried.

Maybe a little, but I shouldn’t be. But I might be, but I shan’t.

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Camp Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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